Climatic Change

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 287–313 | Cite as

On Climatic Fluctuations and Environmental Changes of the Indo-Gangetic Plains, India

  • Nityanand Singh
  • N. A. Sontakke


Paralleling the Southern Himalayan Province, the Indo-GangeticPlains region (IGPR) of India (geographical area ∼ 6,00,000 km2) is veryimportant for the food security of South Asia. Due to numerous factors inoperation there is widespread apprehension regarding sustainability offragile ecosystems of the region. Literature provides detailed documentation of environmental changes due to different factors except climatic. The present study is intended to document the instrumental-period fluctuations of important climatic parameters like rainfall amounts (1829–1999), severe rainstorms (1880–1996) and temperature (1876–1997) exclusively for the IGPR. The summer monsoon rainfall over western IGPR shows increasing trend(170 mm/100-yr, significant at 1% level) from 1900 while over central IGPR it shows decreasing trend (5 mm/100-yr, not significant) from 1939 and over eastern IGPR decreasing trend (50 mm/100-yr, not significant) during 1900–1984 and insignificant increasing trend (480 mm/100-yr, not significant) during 1984–1999. Broadly it is inferred that there has been a westward shift in rainfall activities over the IGPR. Analysis suggests westward shift in the occurrence of severe rainstorms also. These spatial changes in rainfall activities are attributed to global warming and associated changes in the Indian summer monsoon circulation and the general atmosphericcirculation. The annual surface air temperature of the IGPR showed rising trend (0.53 ° C/100-yr, significant at 1% level) during 1875–1958 and decreasing trend (–0.93 ° C/100-yr, significant at 5% level) during 1958–1997. The post-1958 period cooling of the IGPR seems to be due to expansion and intensification of agricultural activities and spreading of irrigation network in the region. Lateral shift in the river courses is an environmental hazard of serious concern in the IGPR. In the present study it is suggested that meteorologic factors like strength and direction of low level winds and spatial shift in rainfall/climatic belt also play a significant role along with tectonic disturbances and local sedimentological adjustments in the vagrancy of the river courses over the IGPR.


Summer Monsoon Monsoon Rainfall Indian Summer Monsoon Monsoon Circulation Lateral Shift 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nityanand Singh
    • 1
  • N. A. Sontakke
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPashan, PuneIndia

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